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Research shows why meteoroids explode before they reach Earth

December 11, 2017 Purdue University

Our atmosphere is a better shield from meteoroids than researchers thought, according to a new paper published in Meteoritics & Planetary Science. When a meteor comes hurtling toward Earth, the high-pressure air in front of it seeps into its pores and cracks, pushing the body of the meteor apart and causing it to explode. Read more about: Research shows why meteoroids explode before they reach Earth

Contact: Kayla Zacharias, 765-494-9318, kzachar@purdue.edu

New approach measuring early butchering practices can help answer questions about evolution

December 6, 2017 Purdue University

Researchers, led by a Purdue University anthropology professor, have found that statistical methods and 3-D imaging can be used to accurately measure animal bone cut marks made by prehistoric human butchery, and to help answer pressing questions about human evolution. Read more about: New approach measuring early butchering practices can help answer questions about evolution

Contact: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

First-of-its-kind mummy study reveals clues to girl’s story

November 29, 2017 Northwestern University

Who is she, this little mummy girl? Northwestern University scientists and students are working to unravel some of her mysteries, including how her body was prepared 1,900 years ago in Egypt, what items she may have been buried with and what material is in her brain cavity. As part of a comprehensive investigation, the mummy traveled from Evanston to Argonne National Laboratory on Nov. 27 for an X-ray scattering experiment -- the first study of its kind performed on a human mummy. Read more about: First-of-its-kind mummy study reveals clues to girl’s story

Contact: Megan Fellman, 847-491-3115, fellman@northwestern.edu

Freezing electrons makes them get in line

November 27, 2017 Purdue University

New research published in Nature Communications suggests that electrons in a two-dimensional gas can undergo a semi-ordered (nematic) to mostly-ordered (smectic) phase transition, which has been discussed in physics theory but never seen in practice before. Read more about: Freezing electrons makes them get in line

Contact: Kayla Zacharias, 765-494-9318, kzachar@purdue.edu

Ecologists show that Nebraska Sandhills can withstand wildfire

November 18, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Research is showing that Nebraska's national landmark Sandhills ecoregion recovers remarkably fast from fire. The study puts fears to rest that burned areas from a 2012 fire were irreparably damaged. Read more about: Ecologists show that Nebraska Sandhills can withstand wildfire

Contact: Dirac Twidwell, 402-480-8832, dirac.twidwell@unl.edu

Nebraska research drills into demographic drivers of death-penalty support

November 17, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

In a new study, Amy Anderson and Philip Schwadel found a person's age is an important factor in explaining opinions on the death penalty. Read more about: Nebraska research drills into demographic drivers of death-penalty support

Contact: Philip Schwadel, 402-472-6008, pschwadel2@unl.edu

Is Africa the world's next breadbasket? Nebraska study says it's unlikely

November 17, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

While there is huge potential for sub-Saharan Africa to increase agricultural productivity, the odds that the region will become the world's next breadbasket are low, according to a new study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Read more about: Is Africa the world's next breadbasket? Nebraska study says it's unlikely

Contact: Patricio Grassini, 402-472-5554, pgrassini2@unl.edu

Why these Amish live longer and healthier: an internal ‘fountain of youth’

November 15, 2017 Northwestern University

The first genetic mutation that appears to protect against multiple aspects of biological aging in humans has been discovered in an extended family of Amish living near Berne, Indiana, reports a new Northwestern study. An experimental “longevity” drug that recreates the effect of the mutation is now being tested in human trials to see if it provides protection against some aging-related illnesses. Indiana Amish kindred with the mutation live more than 10 percent longer, have significantly less diabetes and a younger looking cardiovascular system. These Amish have low levels of a protein related to the aging of cells. A closely related form of drug is being developed as topical treatment for baldness. Read more about: Why these Amish live longer and healthier: an internal ‘fountain of youth’

Contact: Marla Paul, 312-503-8928, marla-paul@northwestern.edu

Soil study lends clues to ancient climate

November 13, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Research led by Nebraska's Matt Joeckel is providing insight into environmental conditions 125 million years ago. Read more about: Soil study lends clues to ancient climate

Contact: Matt Joeckel, 402-472-7520, rjoeckel3@unl.edu

Left-brained: Study suggests conservative Democrats don't compute for liberal voters

November 13, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Democratic candidates with conservative leanings may have a trickier time in today’s political climate than Republican candidates with a liberal bent, a new Nebraska study using cutting-edge brain-scan technology suggests. Read more about: Left-brained: Study suggests conservative Democrats don't compute for liberal voters

Contact: Ingrid Haas, 402-472-2173, ihaas2@unl.edu

Research shows ice sheets as large as Greenland’s melted fast in a warming climate

November 9, 2017 Purdue University

New research published in Science shows that climate warming reduced the mass of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet by half in as little as 500 years, indicating the Greenland Ice Sheet could have a similar fate. Read more about: Research shows ice sheets as large as Greenland’s melted fast in a warming climate

Contact: Kayla Zacharias, 765-494-9318, kzachar@purdue.edu

We should use central pressure deficit, not wind speed, to predict hurricane damage

November 8, 2017 Purdue University

he system for categorizing hurricanes accounts only for peak wind speeds, but research published in Nature Communications explains why central pressure deficit is a better indicator of economic damage from storms in the United States. “Sandy is the classic example. It was a very big storm, but in terms of maximum wind speed it was arguably not a hurricane,” said Dan Chavas, an assistant professor of atmospheric science at Purdue who led the study. “If you looked at the central pressure deficit, you would have expected it to cause a lot of damage. But if you used maximum wind speed, as people usually do, you wouldn’t expect it to do the damage that it did.” Read more about: We should use central pressure deficit, not wind speed, to predict hurricane damage

Contact: Kayla Zacharias, 765-494-9318, kzachar@purdue.edu

A little stress is good for cellular health and longevity

November 7, 2017 Northwestern University

Northwestern University molecular bioscientists have discovered that a little stress can be good for cellular health. The findings will help researchers better understand the molecular mechanisms that drive aging and risk for age-associated degenerative diseases. In a genetic study of C. elegans, the researchers found that signals from mildly stressed mitochondria prevent the failure of protein-folding quality-control machinery in the cytoplasm that comes with age. This, in turn, suppresses the accumulation of damaged proteins that can occur in degenerative diseases. Read more about: A little stress is good for cellular health and longevity

Contact: Megan Fellman, 847-491-3115, fellman@northwestern.edu

System uses ‘deep learning’ to detect cracks in nuclear reactors

November 6, 2017 Purdue University

A system under development at Purdue University uses artificial intelligence to detect cracks captured in videos of nuclear reactors and represents a future inspection technology to help reduce accidents and maintenance costs. Read more about: System uses ‘deep learning’ to detect cracks in nuclear reactors

Contact: Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

'Microfluidic' device simulates cancer treatment as effectively as research animals

November 1, 2017 Purdue University

A new technology that simulates tumors has been shown to perform as well as research animals in testing chemotherapy drugs, representing a potential tool for screening drugs before treating a patient. Read more about: 'Microfluidic' device simulates cancer treatment as effectively as research animals

Contact: Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Geobiologist receives prestigious Packard Fellowship

October 26, 2017 Northwestern University

Magdalena Osburn, a Northwestern University geobiologist who studies ancient and modern microbes, has been awarded a 2017 Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, which includes an unrestricted grant of $875,000 over five years for innovative research. Osburn will study “microbial dark matter” -- microbes that have evaded cultivation in the lab -- and thus scientific study -- and are known only by their DNA sequences. Unknown microbes have the potential for producing new compounds with implications for medicine. Read more about: Geobiologist receives prestigious Packard Fellowship

Contact: Megan Fellman, 847-491-3115, fellman@northwestern.edu

Astronomers discover sunscreen snow falling on hot exoplanet

October 26, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

Astronomers at Penn State have used the Hubble Space Telescope to find a blistering-hot giant planet outside our solar system where the atmosphere "snows" titanium dioxide -- the active ingredient in sunscreen. These Hubble observations are the first detections of this "snow-out" process, called a "cold trap," on an exoplanet. The research may someday be useful for gauging the habitability of Earth-size planets. Read more about: Astronomers discover sunscreen snow falling on hot exoplanet

Contact: Barbara, 814-863-4682, b

Urban heat and cool island effects controlled by agriculture and irrigation

October 25, 2017 Purdue University

As Earth’s climate continues to warm, the urban heat island effect raises concerns that city-dwellers will suffer more heat stress than their rural counterparts. However, new research suggests that some cities actually experience a cooling effect. Read more about: Urban heat and cool island effects controlled by agriculture and irrigation

Contact: Kayla Zacharias, 765-494-9318, kzachar@purdue.edu

Why some young violence victims seek relationships sooner -- and others don't

October 25, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Violence against youths has far-reaching implications, even affecting their ability to form romantic relationships for years to come, a new study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln shows. Read more about: Why some young violence victims seek relationships sooner -- and others don't

Contact: Tara Warner, 402-472-3080, twarner2@unl.edu

Name that tune: Sparrow chicks can ID song from opening note

October 25, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

A new Nebraska study has shown that golden-crowned sparrow chicks can name their tune in just one note – even before knowing the song. Read more about: Name that tune: Sparrow chicks can ID song from opening note

Contact: Daizaburo Shizuka, 402-472-1544, dshizuka2@unl.edu

Mimicking biological process, hydrogel signals and releases proteins

October 25, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — An artificial system using a DNA-laced hydrogel can receive a chemical signal and release the appropriate protein, according to Penn State researchers. Further stimulation by the chemical signal continues to trigger a response. Read more about: Mimicking biological process, hydrogel signals and releases proteins

Contact: A"ndrea Elyse Messer, 814-865-9481, aem1@psu.edu

Sea-level rise, not stronger storm surge, will cause future NYC flooding

October 23, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Rising sea levels caused by a warming climate threaten greater future storm damage to New York City, but the paths of stronger future storms may shift offshore, changing the coastal risk for the city, according to a team of climate scientists. Read more about: Sea-level rise, not stronger storm surge, will cause future NYC flooding

Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer, 814-865-9481, aem1@psu.edu

Purdue develops ‘intrachip’ micro-cooling system for high-performance radar, supercomputers

October 23, 2017 Purdue University

Researchers have developed a new type of cooling system for high-performance radars and supercomputers that circulates a liquid coolant directly into electronic chips through an intricate series of tiny microchannels. Read more about: Purdue develops ‘intrachip’ micro-cooling system for high-performance radar, supercomputers

Contact: Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Innovative material for soft sensor could bring new tactile tech

October 23, 2017 Purdue University

A new type of soft and stretchable sensor could find uses in applications ranging from athletics and health monitoring to prosthetics and virtual reality. The technology, called iSoft, is capable of sensing in real-time, or without delay, and can perform “multimodal” sensing, or sensing a variety of stimuli such as continuous contact and stretching in all directions. Read more about: Innovative material for soft sensor could bring new tactile tech

Contact: Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

New graphene nano-ribbons lend sensors unprecedented sensitivity

October 20, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

A gas sensor featuring DNA-sized, carbon-based ribbons developed at Nebraska can respond about 100 times more sensitively to gas molecules than any previously tested carbon material. Read more about: New graphene nano-ribbons lend sensors unprecedented sensitivity

Contact: Alexander Sinitskii, 402-472-3543, sinitskii@unl.edu

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